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Why Leigh man had ban overturned for tackle on Leeds star that resulted in “injury scare”

Last week Leigh Leopards star Nathan Wilde was hit with a ban for “dangerous contact” in a tackle on Leeds Rhinos star Harry Newman.

The tackle followed a trend recently of bans for hip drop tackles but the ban was overturned in favour of a fine after a tribunal last week.

Now details have been shared why Wilde was able to avoid a ban for the tackle on Newman.

According to the RFL, this is the argument Leigh put forward:

“It is argued by Nathan Wilde and the several Leigh representatives (Adrian Lam, Chris Chester, Neil Jukes & Derek Beaumont) who provided written statements which were amplified orally by the Chairman (Derek Beaumont), that Wilde did his very best to safely & properly tackle HN who had avoided the first tacklers.

“Wilde had to approach from the side of Harry Newman as he came through the defensive line. He sought to wrap up Newman’s upper body/arms where he was carrying the ball and he was successful in doing that. Newman’s momentum then carried both of them forward with Wilde continuing at all times to keep his wrap on Newman’s upper body. It was the momentum of the tackle as opposed to any reckless act by Wilde that took both players to the ground.

“Further, Newman chose to go to ground as opposed to losing hold of the ball which can be seen to be slipping from his grasp as a consequence of Wilde’s wrapping and Newman’s own forward momentum. When they went to the ground Newman landed on top of Wilde and it was not a case of Newman purposefully or recklessly making contact with Newman’s legs. Newman effectively gave up in the tackle and went to ground to avoid losing the ball. It was that mechanism that that took them to the ground with Wilde making some limited contact with HN’s legs in the process. Wilde did not “lunge” at Newman.

“The contemporaneous reactions of the other players on both sides and also the experienced referee who was nearby and looking at the tackle throughout do not support the argument that the tackle was dangerous or reckless. No player, nor the referee, reacted to the tackle in any way. The more distant but differently angled camera view of the tackle from the other side of the pitch (which the MRP did not see) supports these arguments.”

The tribunal then reached the following verdict:

“In all these circumstances, and applying the principles set out at D4.2 of the Operating Rules (the burden & standard of proof), it cannot properly be concluded by the Tribunal that this tackle was a reckless as opposed to a careless act.

“The explanations advanced in some detail by NW and his club have some merit and raise sufficient doubt about the MRP’s view that the act was reckless as opposed to careless.

“Therefore, the 1-match suspension will be replaced by a fine of £250 on the basis that the offence should be assessed as a Grade A, not Grade B, offence. The deposited bond of £500 will not be forfeit.”

The tackle did create an injury scare for Newman though Rohan Smith said of it after the game:

“He looks to be okay. He got a bit of a scare there because of one of those tackles that are happening at the moment.

“I think it was his ankle that he was scared about.”

However, reports suggested that concerns over Newman’s fitness was the reason why he was withdrawn from Shaun Wane’s England squad.

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